Friday, October 5, 2012

Sneaking a Peek at The Archived

The Archived
~The Archived~
The Archived
Book 1

By Victoria Schwab
Amazon Pre-Order ~ Powell's Pre-Order

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard won redemption.

First of all, I hope they don't change a thing about that cover. It's gorgeous! Be sure to click on the image to get a larger view. Okay, maybe a little tweaking to the author name, as it can get a little lost up there. But still, great design guys. I only wish I'd gotten to see it on my Kindle - but that's neither here nor there.

I don't honestly remember what drew me to request this sneak peek from NetGalley two months back, but when I picked it up this week I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into. An organization that keeps secrets and souls, a world where the dead don't always rest in peace, and a fiery heroine who hunts down Histories while struggling to come to terms with her own... How could I not want to read more?

Mackenzie, or Mac to her family and friends, sucked me into her story instantly. Whether she was leading me through the present, navigating memories with her grandfather (Da) or brother, or exploring the other worlds of the Narrows and the Archive, I couldn't pull away. She's the perfect combination of strength and fragility; carrying out her duties to the best of her ability but still being raw from her recent loss, not to mention being so young in a job that deals with life and death situations on a daily basis.

The formatting was a bit wonky in my copy. Of course, I can't really fault it since it's not even an ARC and it has over 3 months before its proper release. Still, even with the strange fi & fl errors, the on-and-off red text, and the only sometimes bold flashback sections, it was very easy for me to tell what was happening at all times. Mac's narration (aka Schwab's writing) guides you through both past and present effortlessly, so even though there are a lot of switching tenses and flashbacks, I was never once confused. ...Okay, maybe just the first time when the formatting didn't change. But that's obviously a gimme.

Frankly, I was most surprised to find myself tearing up in a couple parts. Perhaps it's the fact that I lost a very dear companion (a cat, but still), and have attended a few memorial services recently. But nevertheless, I'd say this book's handling of the subject of death and the afterlife is extremely well-done. Not only is it innovative and completely new-to-me, but it's also tactful and sensitive.

Needless to say, I cannot wait to get my hands on the finished book come next January. There's a lot more I could say and a lot of theorizing I could make, but I'd rather save that for my eventual review. These 9 chapters are more than enough to suck you in and never let you go, so I'm more than eager to know what the rest of the book — and the series! — has in store!

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 22nd, 2013 by Hyperion

Disclaimer: I received this Sneak Peek from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.